So far the “Zoomers” of Generation Z haven been said to lack sound judgement, especially when it comes to the Chinese government-controlled app, TikTok.
Now, a recent trend has young people tattooing a “Z” on their body to show pride in their generation- only for their lack of historical understanding to inadvertently result in them permanently bearing the mark of a Waffen-SS unit.
People are actually getting the “gen z” tattoo because of a viral tik tok… pic.twitter.com/gLXKYMOmcG— ✨Little Bitch ✨ (@itsrainingshrek) September 19, 2020
The new TikTok trend, which involves getting the European-style “Z” tattooed on one’s body (and often in a block font), hilariously resembles the insignia of the 4th SS Polizei Panzergrenadier Division.
One of 38 divisions fielded by the Waffen-SS in World War II, the 4th SS Polizei Panzergrenadiers were established in 1939, as part of the Ordnungspolizei or Orpo (uniformed national police) under the control of Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler.
Despite being under Himmler’s command, the Polizei Divisions were not considered part of traditional Waffen-SS divisions and did not receive the same equipment.
In 1944, the unit, while operating in Greece, was responsible for the Kleisoura massacre and the Distomo massacre; the latter going down in history as one of the worst atrocities committed by the Waffen-SS during the war.
During the Distomo massacre, the men of the “Z” insignia (who claimed they had been attacked by resistance troops) reportedly went door-to-door committing retaliatory murder for two hours, and witnesses claim they “bayoneted babies in their cribs, stabbed pregnant women, and beheaded the village priest.”
The reported death toll from Distomo ranges from around 214 to over 1,000.
The unit was so deeply involved in war crimes that it actually drew negative scrutiny from the Gestapo, Nazi Germany’s secret police unit.
Losing ground by war’s end, the remnants of the division fought its way across the Elbe river, ultimately surrendering to the Americans
The trend of tattooing the finger was reportedly started by TikTok user @smoothavocado, who had no idea that such a unit even existed.
Upon realizing her lack of historical awareness, @smoothavacado took to the internet to deliver a tearful apology and claimed she would replace her “movement” logo with the equal (“=”) symbol.
“I have been writing my Zs like that since elementary school,” she said in a video reposted to Twitter. “So when I put that [design] on there, I didn’t think anything of it.”
However, the damage was already done for many, as they had already forked over money for tattoos and merchandise based on a “challenge” from a random user of a Chinese government-controlled app.
But hey, you do you, Zoomers.
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